Tis the season of reflections, speculations and planning for marketing. 2020 was a year no one saw coming. Let’s take a look at some bold predictions going into 2020, if they held true and predictions for 2021.
2020 Predictions and did they hold true?
What Experts Said
Marketo interviewed 10 marketing experts for their outlook for 2020. Let’s take a look at some of their predictions:
3 out of 10 predicted that Artificial Intelligence will help marketers drive more growth and make marketing smarter.
Did this hold true?
Going into 2020, AI and machine learning was the fastest growing R&D department according to Forbes, further solidifying the groundwork for this prediction. In-house marketing communications departments have taken to using AI in analyzing consumer behavior, and later on correlate that data into predicting potential needs and preferences in the future. The ability of AI to sift and sort through massive amounts of data has also largely helped in collating particular personalized content and personalized ads targeted to specific personas.
AI has even been used to design personalized marketing and advertising experiences for targeted consumers from start to finish with accuracy.
So it’s safe to say that those who predicted AI will become prominent in 2020 were correct.
What Google Said
Here are Google’s 10 digital trends in marketing to look out for in 2020. Let’s see what held true.
Two points really stand out: inclusive marketing and data-driven marketing. The pandemic upended our personal and professional lives causing us to adapt. More and more brands dipped their toes in the media world by creating podcasts, newsletters and new websites to diversify their voice outside of product messaging. Both Axe and Gillette are known to have taken to the practice of inclusive marketing, while advertisers such as Freenet and Otto have used the data-driven marketing approach with favorable results.
Data-driven marketing exploded in 2020. With budgets shifting from events to online, more and more marketers have used data driven approaches to hit their marketing KPIs, proving that the data driven approach is here to stay.
Before we send off 2020, let’s take a look at the trends that no one was talking about according to Neil Patel. Some interesting hot takes here and a few standout. “Moats will almost be non-existent, other than brands”. Here, he’s talking about the low barriers of entry to create a brand and eventually everything starts to look and feel the same in the online world. The only way to stand out…is branding. Influencer marketing has risen to over $10B dollars this year which tells you that large brands will do whatever it takes to maintain their moat. If you can’t differentiate yourself and build a brand you’ll get lost in the vendor confusion.
“There will be no more silver bullets, we will all have to optimize for marginal gains”. If everyone is using relatively the same automation tools, variants on similar messaging and similar tactics to drive brand AND demand then how can anyone win? Neil’s take is that the little things will start to compound and add up over time across all of your marketing channels, not just one. So you can’t be over reliant on one or two particular channels.
Wrapping up 2020…there were some hot takes, some misses and some accurate predictions. Overall, it seems as the predications going into 2020 seem to be holding true. As for 2021, AI, personalized experiences, branding and doing the dirty work for compounding improvements will still hold true.
Cheers to a new year.